COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Fort Carson Soldiers treated soccer fans to an up close look at a Stryker fighting vehicle during the Switchbacks Football Club Fort Carson Military Appreciation Game July 18, 2015, at Sand Creek Stadium.
Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, set up the static display outside Sand Creek Stadium on the east side of Colorado Springs.
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC is a new professional soccer team and a member of the United Soccer League, the third tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. The team provided complimentary ticket vouchers along with discounted ticket packages for the military community.
"For the Switchbacks, Military Appreciation Day was really important when we set out to plan for our year," said Nick Ragain, president, Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club. "It gets down to the heart of what the team and the community are all about."
Soldiers arrived with two Humvees and a Stryker a couple of hours before the match started.
Spc. Daniel Eddy, infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 23rd Inf. Reg., said he thinks it's important for the military to reach out to community members.
"I volunteered to come to the game because I know enough about Strykers to inform the community. I want to show that even though they're a force out on the battlefield, they're ... easy to understand," said Eddy. "The more people know, the more comfortable they feel."
Colorado Springs and surrounding community members were surprised to see a hulking green Stryker parked near one of the entrances to the field, but it wasn't long before a curious crowd formed. Parents climbed into the back of the Stryker with their children as the Soldiers guided them around the various functions of the vehicle.
"It was really cool, and it's cool that there's a ... camera on top," said a child as he played on a Stryker. "The Soldier taught me about the camera and what the controls do."
The Switchbacks FC got its first draw at home against Seattle Sounders FC 2 in the military appreciation game, and attendees had a chance to get a little closer to the military community of Colorado Springs.
"When we come out to the community, people get to understand our job and understand that I'm just normal Spc. Eddy from Hastings, Nebraska," he said. "I'm just like anyone else."